Television Business International

Verizon, Awesomeness ditch premium plans

Digital-headerVerizon and AwesomenessTV have shelved plans to develop a premium content service.

The pair were working up a mobile on-demand service after telco Verizon bought a minority stake in streaming service Awesomeness, which valued it at US$650 million.

These plans have, however, now been ditched, and the exec charged with overseeing the launch, Samie Kim Falvey, has exited.

The partners said that rather work up a new on-demand service Awesomeness will continue to work up original content for its online channels and syndication.

Variety broke the news and Verizon and Awesomeness issued the US trade a joint statement: “The most important part of the Awesomeness/Verizon go90 partnership is our premium content, and the success of Guidance and T@gged have shown what we can do together. Rather than launch a new and separate venture, we decided to instead double down on the Awesomeness episodic series output for go90 and also extend the term of our relationship to best build on the momentum we are seeing with our Gen Z target audience.”

Falvey, who previously worked at broadcast nets Fox and ABC, was chief content officer and had assembled a TV-centric team, hiring former NBCU exec Russell Rothberg. His position is unclear following the news the TVOD plans have been canned.

Awesomeness is majority-owned by DreamWorks, which was run by Jeffrey Katzenberg until soon after the studio was acquired by Comcast last year.

Falvey was brought in on Katzenberg’s watch and when she was hired he said: “Sami’s eye for great storytelling coupled with terrific talent relationships will be invaluable in creating next-generation premium programming for audiences to devour in the ways they are actually watching today – in bite-sized chunks across every device there is.”

Falvey added: “I am eager to bring audiences a new and contemporary form of content and to provide the best creative talent with a wholly original outlet.”

The strategy has, evidently, changed post-Katzenberg.